Joe Montana knew a thing or two about confidence. You have to when you are face to face with charging 300 pound linebackers. It’s kind of important when bodily injury is a very possible result of your actions. That’s one thing about disc golf versus some other sports. No one is going to tackle us at full speed.
When you reach the level of a Joe Montana… or a Ken Climo… or a Paul McBeth, confidence is often the biggest thing that separates you from the other people at your level. If you take two disc golfers of equal skill levels and pitt them against each other, the one with more confidence will usually win.
The problem with this lies in what Mr. Montana so succinctly states. Confidence is a very fragile thing. One of the reasons for this is something called critic’s math. I’ve talked about critic’s math before, it’s an idea put forth by an author named John Acuff. Modified for disc golf, here is the math formula: 1000 great shots plus one bad shot equals one bad shot.
In other words, we can throw quality shot after quality shot but for some reason we don’t remember any of them. That one bad shot, though. Oh that one bad shot. That looms so large in our minds. And usually against our will! When it comes time to execute under pressure, does our brain replay the countless times we’ve made this very same shot? No! It replays that one bad shot. Over and over and over.
That’s one of the big reasons why confidence is so fragile. It is hard to build up and so very easy to tear down.
So remember this the next time you are out on the course. You are probably much better at this sport than you give yourself credit for. Stop thinking about the shots you’ve missed and make an effort to think of the ones you’ve nailed. Step up to your shot with the image of those past victories in your mind. Then take a deep breath, and throw with confidence. Make Joe Montana proud.
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